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First-Timers Dominate Writers Nods

February 05, 1998|ROBERT W. WELKOS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Character-driven dramas and comedies carried the day Wednesday as the two branches of the Writers Guild of America announced nominations for outstanding achievement in writing for films released in 1997.

For best screenplay written directly for the screen, the nominations went to Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks for "As Good as It Gets," Paul Thomas Anderson for "Boogie Nights," Simon Beaufoy for "The Full Monty," Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for "Good Will Hunting" and James Cameron for "Titanic."

Affleck, 25, is the second-youngest nominee in the WGA's 50-year awards show history. The youngest was John Singleton, then 23, who wrote "Boyz N the Hood."

For best screenplay based on material previously produced or published, the guild nominated Paul Attanasio for "Donnie Brasco," James Schamus for "The Ice Storm," Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson for "L.A. Confidential," Hilary Henkin and David Mamet for "Wag the Dog" and Hossein Amini for "The Wings of the Dove."

Eleven of the 14 writers are first-time WGA nominees.

In the television categories, "Seinfeld," "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Law & Order" received multiple nominations.

The winners will be announced Feb. 21. Here is a partial list of the TV and radio nominees:

* Episodic drama: Ed Zuckerman and I.C. Rapoport, "Law & Order (Deadbeat)," NBC; Neal Baer, "ER (Whose Appy Now?)," NBC; Rene Balcer and Richard Sweren, "Law & Order (Entrapment)," NBC.

* Episodic comedy: Judd Apatow, John Markus and Garry Shandling, "The Larry Sanders Show (Ellen, Or Isn't She?)," HBO; Mark Driscoll, Dava Savel, Tracy Newman, Jonathan Stark and Ellen DeGeneres, "Ellen (The Puppy Episode)," ABC; Rob Greenberg, "Frasier (The Impossible Dream)," NBC; Maya Forbes, "The Larry Sanders Show (The Book)," HBO; David Mandel, "Seinfeld (The Bizarro Jerry)," NBC; Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin, "Seinfeld (The Fatigues)," NBC; Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer, "Seinfeld (The Chicken Roaster)," NBC.

* Original long form: Robert Inman, "The Summer of Ben Tyler," ABC; Peter Silverman and Michael DeGuzman, "Hidden in America," Showtime; Bryce Zabel and Brent V. Friedman, "Dark Skies (pilot)," NBC.

* Adapted long form: Paul Monash and Marshall Frady, "George Wallace (Part 2)," TNT; Anne Meredith, "Bastard Out of Carolina," TNT; John Fasano, "The Hunchback," TNT; Will Scheffer, "In the Gloaming," HBO.

* Documentary current events: Helen Whitney and Jane Barnes, "Frontline (The Choice '96)," PBS; Craig Leake, "Dateline NBC (Why Can't We Live Together?)," NBC.

* Radio documentary: Thomas A. Sabella, "Jackie Robinson: His Life and Legacy," CBS; Gail Lee, "The Osgood File (Dracula Anniversary)," CBS; Mike Silverstein, "Perspective (Those Fabulous Follies)," ABC.

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